Etsy or Custom Website? How to Pick Which Platform is Best for You

By Nicole Young

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When selling products, it can be hard deciding where you want to sell your products from. Do you go for a pre-established service like Etsy, or do you go through the effort of making your own custom website?

Deciding between the two comes down to exploring the pros and cons of three areas:

  • Ease
  • Customer base
  • Money/earnings

The work can’t begin until you choose which platform you will sell your product on. This can understandably be a very overwhelming and difficult decision though, so let’s take a closer look into the pros and cons of selling on Etsy compared to a custom website.

Ease

The first thing to look at, of course, is how easy (or difficult) it is to run a shop on the two platforms. Let’s look at Etsy first.

If you don’t know what Etsy is, they often refer to themself as “the global marketplace for unique and creative goods.” Think Amazon, but more niche and consists of primarily hand-crafted items. Setting up an Etsy shop is super easy, as they walk you through the steps of creating and setting up your shop. You essentially just fill in the blanks with information, pictures, etc., confirm it all, and boom, you’ve got a shop set up, just like that.

It’s also worth mentioning that Etsy mostly does the hard and extra work for you. All you have to do for the most part is put your products on the site and occasionally communicate with customers. For the most part, all you have to do is the more personal side of the job.

Etsy is a great place for people who are just starting to sell their products online because of how easy it is to set a shop up. It also helps you to be able to learn the basics before moving onto something that takes more time to figure out.

A custom website is one of those things that take more time to figure out. Unlike when selling products on Etsy, you have to figure out everything on your own, including how to set a shop up, payment options, design choices (Although this could also be seen as a good thing since you get to have freedom in your design), etc. It’s much more time-consuming than selling on Etsy, especially since you have to do constant management on your own site. Of course, you could always go the route of hiring another company to help make your website for you, so definitely don’t dismiss the custom website option based on ease alone.

TomKin Consulting is one of those companies that can assist you in creating a website, so if that is the route you decide to go, keep us in mind.

Customer Base

Another important thing to factor in when deciding between Etsy or a custom website as the main source of distribution for your product is your customer base.

Not only is Etsy great for beginners when it comes to learning how to run a shop, but it’s also great for people who have yet to build up a loyal customer base. Etsy does a lot of marketing for you, and it isn’t too difficult to build a loyal following on the service. Etsy serves as an efficient starting point for people who are just starting their business.

When it comes to selling products on a custom website, it’s probably best to go into it having a pre-established customer base. All the marketing is left up to you when you sell on a custom website, so if you don’t already have a following, it’s possible that you could go a long time without making any sales. Therefore, in terms of a customer base, starting outright with a custom website may not be the best way to go.

Money/Earnings

With any business, money is always going to be important to some degree. Any successful online business owner is going to want to make the most money out of their products as they can.

Unfortunately, Etsy has downfalls when it comes to making money. While they typically do a great job of marketing your business to others, Etsy also has a lot of fees, which takes away quite a bit of the money you make from each purchase.

When you run your sales through your own website, you don’t have to deal with all of those fees. This is why starting on Etsy works great, but it’s not necessarily a sustainable or long-term option if you’re wanting to get the most bang for your buck.

Which is the Better Option?

Truthfully, there is no “better option” because ultimately it depends on what works best for you. Both platforms have pros and cons, and they each have their own purposes. I’ll summarize it for you in shorter terms one more time though.

Etsy is a great starter platform. If you have no idea what you’re doing but want to get a start on your business already, start on Etsy. It’s a fantastic platform for what it is and will do its job well. Your products will be marketed, pretty much every little detail is already taken care of, and you’ll have a chance to grow your customer base.

Etsy is not, however, the most reliable platform. Things could very easily get messed up, and there is always a chance your shop could mistakenly be deleted or shut down. Not to mention that the large fees from each purchase you make can get very annoying.

Selling on a custom website is a great option for those who want to take the next step. Putting a website together is a lot of hard work, but the result is worth it. You have more control and choice than you would on Etsy, and you’ll make more money from each purchase. The learning process will be difficult, but once again, it is worth it.

How Would I Even Go About Starting a Custom Website?

You have two options when it comes to creating your own website. Your first option is to create the website completely on your own. Many people use WordPress, although there are plenty of other platforms to create a website with as well. It’s certainly the more difficult path to take, but if you want complete and total creative freedom, then go for it.

However, if you don’t want to have to spend an excessive amount of time doing the work yourself, there is another option. Like I mentioned earlier (although very briefly), you always have the option of hiring an individual or a company to make the website for you. It takes the pressure off an you can spend the time you would have taken making the website on others, just as important areas of your business that need your attention.

TomKin Consulting is an example of a company that can not only help with website creation, but also with logos, graphic design, branding, and social media management. We know that starting an online business can be stressful and confusing to undergo all by yourself, and we want you to know that we are here to help with our services.

Sources: Huckleberry Hearts, Etsy